My First International Bowling Experience

This past December, I bowled in my first event overseas as an adult. Marshall Kent, Cameron Weier, Cameron’s Father, and I all anxiously sat in Chicago’s O’Hare International airport. We were waiting for our first flight to London to board. It was delayed, of course, and we ended up missing our connecting flight to Doha, Qatar. Great start…

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, we arrived in Qatar and I have got to admit that I was a little nervous because I had never been outside the country before. I was not sure how many people would be fluent in English or if they would understand me at all. I remember going through customs to get a visa into the country and when I got to the counter, I looked at the man and said very clearly and slowly, “Hello. How are you today? I need to get my visa.” He looked at me, smirked and responded in perfect English, “Yea, sure, no problem.”I laughed at myself and all my nerves went away. I was not quite sure about the concept of visa on arrival as the only time I have heard about visa, in brief, was when my cousin got his ETA for New Zealand for 3 months just by filling up a form online with all his details.  So once we got out of the airport and on the road to the hotel, I realized how beautiful this country was. Some of the coolest buildings I have ever seen are in Qatar. I was told while I was there that the entire Doha city skyline was built in the last 10 years. The hotel was beautiful too and it had a coffee bar in the lobby (which my travel companions from Seattle LOVED). The food was incredible! Especially the bread. Anything that you ordered with any type of bread or breading was guaranteed to be delicious.

We started bowling the next day and I was pretty jet lagged; my legs felt like Jello. I bowled 173 the first game and was ecstatic because it probably should have been a lot less. I started the next game with the front 6 or 7 and the swing loosened up; funny how that works, huh? Finally, I got my legs under me and I finished the 6 game block with 246, 211, 267, 221, 223 (1341). All three of us bowled well early and we were able to take a day off and hop on a plane to take a short visit to Dubai. If you have a chance to visit either of these places in your lifetime, DO IT! If I had to describe Dubai, I would say it’s similar to New York City with all of the tall buildings and beautiful skyline, but it also has a Las Vegas type of feel and there are a TON of tourists. It is also right on the water; the water surrounding Dubai was as blue as any body of water I have ever seen. I felt like I was in Miami with the beautiful beaches. The building structures were magnificent. They have one that twists in a 90 degree angle and they have the tallest building in the world there, the Burj Khalifa (no relation to Wiz). They also have the Burj Al Arab, better known as the “Sailboat Hotel” which we were told is the worlds only 7 star hotel. I cannot even imagine how expensive the room rates must be there. There is a helipad on the top of it that sticks out. Tiger Woods has hit golf balls off of it into the ocean and they have also had professional tennis exhibition matches played on top of it. I thought that was pretty cool.

After an awesome day of traveling, it was back to work for the finals. The top 43 made it into the cut with 1-10 earning a bye. 11-43 bowled a 6 game block with the top 18 from that squad advancing to final step 2. After 3 games of the squad, I was leading with +108 and there were a lot of good players in the finals. However, despite my early success, I lost my ball reaction the last three games and couldn’t find anything to string strikes together with. I crawled to the finish line with 201, 206, and 215. I still made it into the next round, but I wasn’t going to make it as far as I wanted to if I didn’t figure out what to do during transition. After the cut, all scores were dropped and the top 10 jump in to make it a field of 28 with the top 4 making the TV show. There was a BIG monetary difference between 12th and 13th of I believe 1500 Euro (roughly $2,050 USD). I started off final step 2 with 191, 230, 181, and 186. I was -12 and in about 23rd place with two games to go. Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled especially since I wasn’t sure what I was going to do the last few games. I moved to my new pair in game 5 and saw I was crossing with fellow American, Tommy Jones. He saw how I had been bowling and he said “C’mon man, you gotta get to 12th. That’s where the difference is.”I started the 5th game with a 10 pin and switched balls. Threw the next 10/11 for 269 and then 254 game 6 to jump from 23rd to 10th.

To give you an idea of what bowling is like overseas verses what it is like in America, this bowling center had a seating area enclosed in glass for when royalty came to watch bowling. Not sure if the prince came to watch the TV finals, but I heard that he has come to watch before.

The experience was incredible and I can’t wait to go back. Hopefully sooner than later!

For full tournament results CLICK HERE

Qatar (first 9 photos) & Dubai (last 6 photos)

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